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Friday, December 23, 2016

For Those Who are Traveling This Season


A genuine odyssey is not about piling up experiences. It is a deeply felt, risky, unpredictable tour of the soul.”
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul)

To say that I am not a world traveler is as much of an understatement as saying that I don't have blue wings and antlers. I have ventured outside the borders of the United States only a handful of times. I have friends who travel. Some, who jet off to somewhere they haven't been before as often as possible. They seem not to mind being confined to an airplane for two days and arriving in a place where they don't know one single word of the language. In fact, my sons are pretty much that way, or would be if they could. I guess I just missed that adventurous gene that craves new experiences.

There are places in this world I'd like to see with my own eyes, of course—the Irish coast from which my ancestors came, those very strange, conical land formations in Cappadocia's Goreme National Park in Turkey, where people hand carved caves in which to live, the Syrian village of Ma'loula, where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is still spoken. For obvious reasons, I'm not going to the middle east in this lifetime.

If you, like me, are not an born explorer in the physical sense, you can still have your odyssey. There is every sort of material available, on line, in libraries, streaming on National Geographic—all you have to do is look for them. Whatever you find, wherever in the world or in the cosmos you find it, the odyssey will not be an external one. How you respond in your heart and soul to the place, the people, to the land, the culture, to the sacredness of it—that is the journey. One of the things that made an indelible impression on me, for instance, in Guatemala, was the reverence of the Holy Week parades, in which the people of each village carried the icons of the church on hand-held floats through the streets. On the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it was the sweetness of the people and their peaceful way of life, open to the elements, the animals, and to one another. If you are a foreign-land traveler, find what speaks to your soul. If you're not a foreign-land traveler, do the same. The only real journey we take is to be found there.

                                                         In the Spirit,


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